updated 1/9/2013 11:03:05 AM ET 2013-01-09T16:03:05

THE ED SHOW with ED SCHULTZ
January 8, 2013

Guests: Barbara Boxer, Randi Weingarten, Bob Shrum, Howard Fineman, William Cohan


ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Americans. And welcome to THE ED SHOW
from New York.

The battle over sensible gun laws has finally reached a tipping point.

This is THE ED SHOW -- let`s get to work.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROXANNA GREEN, TUCSON, AZ: Twenty heartbroken families lost a child in the
Sandy Hook School shooting. I know how much it hurts. My 9-year-old
daughter was murdered in the Tucson shooting.

SCHULTZ (voice-over): Two years after the tragedy in Tucson, Gabrielle
Giffords is taking the NRA head-on. And a powerful new ad calls for
courage in Congress.

GREEN: Whose child has to die next?

SCHULTZ: Senator Barbara Boxer is here on the progress.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio has a posse patrolling around Arizona schools. Tonight,
we`ll try to find the truth about arming public school teachers.

Congressman Steve Palazzo wanted aid when his district was ravaged by
hurricane Katrina, yet voted down Sandy aid. He took a hypocritical tour
of Sandy damage today.

Congress has hit a new low.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Say ah!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Aaah!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Say ah!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Aaah!

SCHULTZ: Even root canals are more popular.

Bob Shrum and Howard Fineman are here to assess the damages.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCHULTZ: Good to have you tonight, folks. Thanks for watching.

Forces are manning on both sides of the debate, on gun legislation in
America. On the heels of the horrific massacre in Newtown, Connecticut,
something needs to change.

Here is one reason why. Two years ago today, a gunman opened fire in
Tucson, Arizona, in a parking lot. He shot 19 people, including
Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. With a gun carries 33 rounds and a
magazine of ammunition. Six people died, including one child. The mother
of that child now has a strong message for our elected leaders in
Washington.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GREEN: Twenty heartbroken families lost a child in the sandy hook school
shooting. I know how much it hurts. My 9-year-old daughter was murdered
in the Tucson shooting.

I have one question for our political leaders. When will you find the
courage to stand up to the gun lobby? Whose child has to die next?

To every mother, we cannot wait. We have to demand a plan.

Go to demandaplan.org and add your name.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: The ad is part of a campaign by the group Mayors Against illegal
Guns. "Demand a Plan" has a three-step solution to reduce gun violence in
America. They want a criminal background check for every gun sold in the
country, a ban on assault weapons and high capacity ammunition magazines,
and they want to make gun trafficking a federal crime, all common sense
stuff.

Groups like "Demand a Plan" want to keep the focus on this issue as Vice
President Joe Biden and his task force hold meetings this week to create a
path forward. Tomorrow, Wednesday, the vice president will meet with the
victims groups and gun safety advocates.

On Thursday, he is going to meet with sportsmen and gun ownership groups
across America.

And on Friday, the president invited the National Rifle Association to sit
at the table for discussion. The NRA said nothing about the meeting other
than this brief statement. "We got an invite late Friday. We are sending
a representative to hear what they have to say."

Retired Army General Stanley McChrystal is the latest voice for common
sense change in America on gun laws. The general spoke on MSNBC this
morning about the types of assault weapons used in these mass shootings.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEN STANLEY MCCHRYSTAL, U.S. AMRY (RET.): When it hits the human body, the
effects are devastating. It`s designed to do that. And that`s what our
soldiers ought to carry.

I personally don`t think there`s any need for that kind of weaponry on the
streets, and particularly around the schools in America. I believe that
we`ve got to take a serious look. I understand everybody`s desire to have
whatever they want. But we`ve got to protect our children. We`ve got to
protect our police. We`ve got to protect our population.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Compare McChrystal`s comments from those from the other side.

(BEGIN VDIEO CLIP)

ALEX JOINES, TALK SHOW HOST: 1776 will commence again if you try to take
our firearms. It doesn`t matter how many lemmings you get out there on the
street, begging for them to have their guns taken. We will not relinquish
them. Do you understand?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: The lines are being drawn. Members of the right wing fringe are
using fear and fantasy to end the debate over gun legislation.

A caller to my radio show this afternoon sounded more sensible. This
gentleman is a gun owner and hunter from Kansas, the middle of the country.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

MATT FROM KANSAS, CALLER "THE ED SCHULTZ SHOW": I am appalled. As a gun
owner and an ethical sportsman, I am appalled by the level of gun violence
in this country. Gun owners ought to be leading the charge to end this gun
violence. If you love guns, and if you love your hunting heritage, my God,
how does your stomach not turn at the violence that`s committed out there
with things that you claim to love?

(END AUDIO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Matt from Kansas is not the only gun owner who feels this way.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DIANE SAWYER, ABC NEWS: You have a gun.

GABRIELLE GIFFORDS (D), FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: Yes, a Glock.

SAWYER: You still have a Glock?

GIFFORDS: Yes.

MARK KELLY, GABBY`S HUSBAND: Gabby and I are both gun owners. We are
strong supporters of the Second Amendment.

SAWYER: So, it`s the common sense consensus you`re going for?

KELLY: We are. And I think most gun owners are in the same camp with us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband Mark
Kelly used the second anniversary of her shooting to push back against the
gun lobby. In a joint op-ed for "The USA Today," they wrote, "Americans
for Responsible Solutions, which we are launching today, will invite people
from around the country to join a national conversation about gun violence
prevention. We`ll raise the funds necessary to balance the influence of
the gun lobby, and we`ll line up squarely behind leaders who will stand up
for what`s right. The children of Sandy Hook Elementary School and all
victims of gun violence deserve fellow citizens and leaders who have the
will to prevent gun violence in the future."

Giffords and Kelly made their announcement after visiting with families in
Newtown, Connecticut. Kelly says they are committed to a common sense
approach to gun laws.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KELLY: I bought a gun at Wal-Mart recently, and I went through a
background check. And why can`t we just make it more difficult for
criminals and the mentally ill to get guns?

SAWYER: But the NRA would say to you they can get them illegally.

KELLY: I don`t agree with that. The gun lobby even opposes a gun
purchaser being checked against the terrorist watch list. I mean, doesn`t
that seem like a common sense thing to do?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Background checks are common sense to the American people.
Ninety-four percent of the public believes all gun buyers should have a
background check. The gun lobby, they have fought against this.

More than 60 percent of the public want a ban on semiautomatic weapons,
like the one used in Newtown and also Aurora, Colorado. It`s not going to
be easy to push back. The gun lobby is in the full campaign mode, a
coalition of gun groups will hold a gun Appreciation Day on January 19th,
two days before the presidential inauguration. But Gabby Giffords and Mark
Kelly are the voices of authority in this entire climate.

Giffords is the strongest possible advocate at this time for a moment to
get common sense laws on the books.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SAWYER: When it can happen to children in a classroom, it`s time to say --

GIFFORDS: Enough.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Giffords is right. Enough is enough. If it`s not enough now,
will it never be enough?

The bottom line here, folks, is that we are at a crossroads in this country
in this conversation. If we don`t do it now, when are we going to do it?
When do the people`s opinion matter to the lawmakers in Congress? How many
more children do we have to see die? And how many more bogus promotional
sound bites do we have to have from the National Rifle Association that
don`t tell the truth about gun violence in this country?

It`s not just laws, it is a societal problem. But we have to take the step
forward and do something right.

I`m a sportsman. I`ve hunted for over 35 years. Do I look like a guy who
wants to see my firearms and my freedoms being taken away? No, of course
not.

But there are sensible laws. You know, we`re right now operating on a
document that`s archaic in many ways.

The Constitution, and the Second Amendment, the right to bear arms, they
didn`t have machine guns back then, and they didn`t have high capacity
clips back then. They had muskets. And the Constitution has latitude for
us to move on this, because society has changed, attitudes have changed,
technology and manufacturing has changed, and the death on our streets in
this country have changed. And we need to do something about it.

But just like the couple you just saw, the congresswoman and her husband,
it takes courage that they are showing America tonight. They need to get
involved, and they are. They are leading. And it is about leadership.

Get your cell phones out. I want to know what you think tonight.

Tonight`s question: should responsible gun owners speak up about gun
legislation? Text A for yes and text B for no, to 622639. You can always
go to our blog at Ed.MSNBC.com. We`ll bring you the results later on in
the show.

SCHULTZ: Joining me tonight from California is Senator Barbara Boxer.

Senator, great to have you with us tonight.

You have been on the front line --

SEN. BARBARA BOXER (D), CALIFORNIA: Great to be with you.

SCHULTZ: You bet. You have been on the front lines for many years about
gun violence in this country. And it has got to be more than conversation
at this point. What has motivated you over the years to be so passionate
about doing something about the societal problem we have?

BOXER: Well, Ed, for me, it started in 1993. I was a new senator when a
gunman with an assault-style weapon walked into a law office in San
Francisco, 101 California Street, and the result was mayhem. And one of
those lost in that shooting was one of my son`s best friends, a law school
compatriot of his.

And this young man threw himself over his wife, who was there visiting him
at the law office and saved her. I can`t get over that. My family can`t
get over that. But it`s not about me, and it`s not about them, because
since then, since 1993, there have been 47 mass shootings, and so many more
added to the list of deaths, unneeded deaths and injuries.

And, you know, I think there are moments in our history that are pivotal
moments, and we change. And we all come out and say, you know, regardless
of our opinion and a lot of other things, we need to have some common sense
here.

I think there was something about the slaughter of those babies that
brought us together. And I am so grateful to Gabby and Mark, because they
have so much credibility as gun owners themselves, Gabby as a victim,
knowing what happened to her. I think it`s one of those moments.

Do you know, Ed, more people are killed on the streets of America in two
years than in the 10 years of the Vietnam War? And I was around when
everyone said no to the Vietnam War, no to the Iraq war.

This is another kind of a war. And we have more control over it if we have
the courage.

SCHULTZ: Can we win this war? Is the conversation and the mood at a
tipping point in this country, in your opinion?

BOXER: I only can hope so. I can`t get into the mind of that gentleman
who started pointing his finger at Piers Morgan and going off on some rant
that the government is coming to get us all.

Government is not coming to get us all. We get to that point, nothing is
going to help us if the military turns against the people.

Let`s get real here. We`re talking innocent lives lost. It seems to me we
should do three things right now.

Get the weapons of war off our streets. Keep guns out of the hands of the
mentally ill and children, and also make sure that our schools are safe by
allowing the local governments to avail themselves of some grant programs
so they can bring secure schools, make them a reality in their
neighborhoods.

SCHULTZ: Senator Boxer, with the assault weapons ban of 1994, would that
pass the Senate today?

BOXER: I can`t tell you. I haven`t taken the pulse of my colleagues.

But I can tell you this. I believe we will be able to get some things
done. Maybe it`s going to be the high capacity clips. Maybe it`s going to
be Senator Feinstein`s bill. I certainly hope so.

We need to close the gun show loophole. There are certain things the Obama
administration could do on the mental health front and on enforcing
existing laws when it comes to tracking guns through the computer system
that was set up.

We have to come together. I think it is one of those "enough is enough"
moments. It`s one of those pivotal moments. I believe it is happening.

But I do want to say to the viewers, it`s really up to you, because it`s
going to take courage for certain colleagues to step up to the plate. And
we have to make sure people know that if they do the right thing, it will
be noticed, and it will be rewarded by support.

SCHULTZ: Senator Boxer, thank you for your leadership on this. I
appreciate your time --

BOXER: Thanks.

SCHULTZ: -- tonight on THE ED SHOW. Thanks so much.

Remember to answer tonight`s question there at the bottom of screen. Share
your thoughts with us on Twitter @EdShow, and on Facebook. We always want
to know what you think.

Coming up, gun clubs claim they`re training hundreds of teachers to carry
guns in schools. But are they telling the truth? We`ve got the facts
about firearms and safety of students, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Coming up: hypocrisy in the House of Representatives. We`ll look
at the Republicans who voted against hurricane Sandy relief, but lobbied
for disaster funds for their own states and backyards.

And later, the federal government loaned billions of dollars to insurance
giant AIG to save them from bankruptcy and hurting the economy. Now some
investors want to sue the federal government and want AIG to join in.
We`ll have the details coming up.

Don`t forget, you can listen to my radio show on Sirius XM Radio channel
127, Monday through Friday, noon to 3:00 p.m. Share your thoughts with us
on Facebook and Twitter using #EdShow.

We`re coming right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: We have stood with the citizens of
Florida and Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, Iowa and Vermont,
California and Missouri in their times of need. Now, I trust they will
stand with us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: How do you argue with that?

Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, giving his State of the State
Address earlier.

And next week, Congress is set to vote on more disaster relief for victims
of hurricane Sandy. Just last Friday, Congress approved a $9.7 billion
measure that would provide some relief by keeping, just keeping the
National Flood Insurance Program solvent. That`s what that vote was about.

Sixty-seven members opposed the measure. They were all Republican.

Over half of those no votes supported, yes, supported disaster relief in
their own states.

"Think Progress" compiled the list.

Among the boldfaced names, here he is, Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. You know,
he voted no on Sandy relief, yet asked for a disaster declaration following
a flood in his home state of Wisconsin?

Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, she too voted no, asked for disaster
assistance following a flood in her state of Tennessee.

Louie Gohmert, you can`t forget him, from Texas -- oh, you can always
depend on a no vote there. He requested a broader disaster declaration
following hurricane Ike.

Jim Jordan of Ohio, a no vote, requested a disaster declaration after
storms in his state.

Can you believe this? Tom Price of Georgia a no? He voted no for Sandy
relief? He called for disaster relief after tornadoes.

Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin a no vote, supported disaster relief after
flooding.

Joe Wilson of South Carolina also a no vote, supported a USDA drought
relief to help those farmers out.

Then, there is Steve Palazzo of Mississippi. Palazzo represents the
coastal region of his state, an area completely devastated by hurricane
Katrina. Palazzo voted no on Sandy relief because he says he is worried
about the nation`s debt.

"The bigger picture," he says, "is we also have to recognize that we have a
financial disaster that is looming in this country that I believe
personally in my heart" -- in his heart -- "is going to be greater than any
disaster that has ever hit the U.S."

Well, when Katrina struck back in 2005, this congressional member wasn`t
serving in Congress at the time. He was in charge of finances at Biloxi`s
Public Housing Authority. Palazzo asked for millions of dollars in federal
relief, despite the country`s debt at the time, because he knew the people
of Mississippi needed it.

He said, "We will rebuild and we`ll provide homes for those displaced, but
we cannot do that until it is funded", Palazzo said at the time. "The
Miami Herald" reports that Harrison County, which includes Biloxi got $72
million in federal funding just for public housing after Hurricane Katrina.

This gentleman`s hypocrisy on disaster relief has not gone unnoticed back
home.

You see, the folks of Palazzo`s district aren`t too happy about his no
vote. His hometown newspaper, "The Sun Herald" of Biloxi went even
further. "We doubt any congressional district in this nation has ever had
as much federal distance following a disaster as Mississippi`s fourth
district. How then is it possible for the fourth district`s representative
in Congress to speak of pinching pennies when he knows the immeasurable
value of money flowing quickly into a disaster area?"

Palazzo tried to explain his vote a different way.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

REP. STEVEN PALAZZO (R), MISSISSIPPI: It is not that I don`t support the
Sandy relief effort. I just believe we should have offsets.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Offsets. Wait a minute. There was no talk of offsets when this
congressman appealed for relief money following hurricane Isaac last
August. And there was no talk of offsets when Palazzo took to the House
floor last May, asking his fellow members to support an extension of the
National Flood Insurance Program.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PALAZZO: The NFIP provides flood insurance to more than 20,000 communities
across this nation, including more than 50,000 families in my district.
Many of my constituents in Mississippi are still dealing with the effects
of hurricane Katrina. They have experienced record flooding in recent
years, and we are fast approaching another hurricane season.

We have no other choice. We must act now. So it is out of necessity that
I support this short-term extension.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: You know, that guy was right. The national flood insurance
program is an important program that should transcend politics. It helps
families and small business owners get become on their feet after a
disaster by paying flood insurance claims.

Last week`s Sandy relief vote was to fund the National Flood Insurance
Program. And yet this congressman and 66 other Republicans, what did they
do? They voted no.

Palazzo is now on heavy-duty damage control, reportedly touring Sandy-
affected areas today to show his support. But the people of New York and
New Jersey don`t need a photo op. They need his vote so they can get the
money and the resources they need to rebuild, just like they did back in
his state.

Former New York Senator Al D`Amato, a Republican, had this to say about
Palazzo and the 66 other no votes. "They`re a bunch of jackasses. Every
one of the 67 who voted no are nothing more than pawns of a philosophy that
is not backed up by facts."

Sir, you need to run again.

Coming up, in a new poll, Congress is getting lower ratings than
cockroaches and head lice, and the next fiscal deadline is just around the
corner. Bob Shrum and Howard Fineman join me for the discussion.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Thanks for stay with us tonight.

Gun clubs in Utah, Ohio, and Texas have gotten a lot of new business since
the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. They claim they`re training
hundreds of teachers to carry guns at school.

Now, we know that gun clubs are training people for free, but none of them
can tell us just how many trainees are teachers. In fact, my staff spent
the entire day trying to find one teacher in any of these states who would
talk to us about this.

Hundreds of teachers are supposedly getting gun training, but we couldn`t
find a single teacher who would talk about it, not one. It`s a little
strange, isn`t it?

Here is something we do know. More school districts are buying into the
NRA`s so-called solution, armed off-duty police officers are patrolling the
middle school and elementary schools in Marlboro County, New Jersey, and
last night, Staten Island passed a resolution to post armed guards at
schools there as well.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL D`AVINO, PARENT: I`ve heard some of the comments tonight that
people say we`re putting guns in the schools. We`re putting trained
professionals in the schools.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Administrators say there will be no armed guards in any New York
City public schools. But districts in other parts of New York disagree.
Police have stepped up security in Westchester County.

And in Arizona, Sheriff Joe Arpaio has put together armed volunteer posses
to patrol around schools.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHERIFF JOE ARPAIO, MARICOPA COUNTY, AZ: We`re not waiting for new laws or
the bureaucracy. We`re taking immediate action.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Here is what the NRA won`t tell you. Out of the 62 mass
shootings in the last 30 years, not one single killer was stopped by a
civilian using a gun. Not one.

The risk of keeping guns around children are very real. 32,163 people were
killed by firearms in 2011. 851 were killed by accident.

Here is something else the NRA won`t tell you. If Americans keep buying
firearms at the current pace in which they are, we will have more guns than
people. Guns will outnumber American citizens in just two years.

As the number of guns has gone up, mass shootings have also gone up. It`s
not a coincidence. We hit an all-time low in 1994 when the assault weapons
ban was passed.

Isn`t it time to get real? We have to decide whether arming teachers
and posting guards in every school will really protect our kids and our
society.

I`m joined tonight by Randi Weingarten, president of the American
Federation of Teachers. Randi, good to have you with us tonight.

RANDI WEINGARTEN, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TEACHERS: It`s great to be
with you, Ed.

SCHULTZ: This is absolutely absurd, but we`re trying to verify how
many of these teachers, especially in Ohio, are taking this training. And
the gun clubs are being very coy about just how many teachers are involved.
Can you tell us anything about this? Do you know of teachers in that
state? We heard a number of up to 900 are getting firearms training that
would be proficient enough for them to carry guns in schools if the school
districts would allow them.

WEINGARTEN: Well, look, number one, you know, you know and you`ve
heard it like I have that people are scared. But if the advocacy that I`m
hearing from my members all across the country is any indication, teachers
do not want to be armed in schools. There is an issue about whether or not
we should have an up tick in police presence in and around schools.

And we have had, frankly, in our schools around the country -- about a
third of our schools have some police presence for a variety of different
reasons. But the issue here, and you got to the -- you got to the heart of
it, Ed. The issue is this is not -- it is a real mistake to think like the
NRA thinks, that all you need is a good guy or a good gal with a gun to
deal with a bad guy with a gun.

The assault weapon that Lanza used in Newtown, you could shoot six
bullets a second with that assault weapon. I don`t care what one tries to
do in terms of civilians whose job it is to teach kids. You cannot
possibly think that putting an army -- putting a gun in that person`s hands
is going to stop a bad guy with a gun. We saw that in Columbine.

SCHULTZ: Yeah.

WEINGARTEN: Why don`t we actually try first to get these large
magazines off the streets? Why don`t we actually try first to get these
artillery weaponry off the streets? Why don`t we try first to close the
gun show loophole, or to try to do gun safety laws like other countries
have done? Why don`t we try to do those things first so instead of doing
this --

SCHULTZ: I agree with all of that Randi. But what we`re going to see
right now is conversation in district after district across the country.
This conversation, should our teachers be armed in the classroom. Your
union and other unions in the National Education Association, where do you
stand on this? And how do you push become against this conversation?

WEINGARTEN: So we do not believe that teachers should be armed in the
classrooms. And you know, this is the irony, Ed. Just last year, we`re
having a conversation about whether teachers should actually have latitude
to teach as opposed to test, whether they should have collective bargaining
rights. So some of the very same people who have stripped teachers of
their collective bargaining rights or any latitude to teach now want to arm
them.

Teachers do not want to be armed. We do not want schools to be armed
fortresses. We want them to be safe sanctuaries.

SCHULTZ: You would be in favor of a greater police presence?

WEINGARTEN: In places -- you know, this should be done on a school by
school or case-by-case basis. For example, you can imagine that -- why
people in Newtown would want a police presence in and around schools,
because right now they`re scared, and they want to have that police
presence. It`s -- the schools in Newtown, for example, are in remote
areas. It takes the cops about 10 or 15 minutes to get there.

But a place like -- but there are other places where you can imagine
that you don`t need a police presence in and around the perimeter. And the
other thing we should be doing is if we have police presence, as we have
had in the past during the Clinton administration, let`s make sure the
police are actually really engaged in schooling, like we did with the DARE
Program.

SCHULTZ: All right. Randi Weingarten, I appreciate your time
tonight. This story is not going away. You bet.

There`s a lot more coming up in the next half hour of THE ED SHOW.
Stay with us. We`re right back.

Root canals and Cockroaches still more popular than Congress. Bob
Shrum and Howard Fineman are here on Congress` abysmal approval ratings.

Florida`s Rick Scott is cooking the books to deny care to the poor.
Hear why this is nothing new for the governor.

AIG thanks you for the bailout.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, America.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, America.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: -- right before a trip to court. William Cohan takes us
inside the insurance giant`s proposal to sue the federal government.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Another big fiscal deadline is
looming, and the American people are rendering judgment on whether
President Obama or House Speaker John Boehner did a better job with the
last one. President Obama clearly has the upper hand; 53 percent approved
of the president`s handling of the fiscal cliff negotiations. Only 40
percent disapproved.

For Boehner, it`s the reverse. Only 30 percent approve; 56 percent of
voters disapprove.

Meanwhile, Congress is getting poll numbers that really nobody would
want. Americans have a higher opinion of root canals than of Congress.
The public also has a higher opinion of used car salesmen, head lice,
cockroaches, traffic jams, and Donald Trump.

However, Congress did score a little better than telemarketers,
communism and Gonorrhea.

It`s kind of funny, but unfortunately Speaker Boehner pulls the
strings of government. And today we learned that the United States
government may reach the debt ceiling earlier than expected, possibly as
soon as February 15th. Speaker Boehner even floated the idea of having
monthly debt ceiling increases in a recent "Wall Street Journal" article.

As Think Progress points out, maybe he got the idea from Grover
Norquist.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GROVER NORQUIST, AMERICANS FOR TAX REFORM: They can give him debt
ceiling increases once a month. They can have him on a rather short leash,
on a small -- here is your allowance, come back next month if you have
behaved.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wait, you`re proposing that the debt ceiling be
increased month by month?

NORQUIST: Monthly if he is good, weekly if he is not.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: If he is a good guy. Let`s bring in Bob Shrum, professor of
public policy at NYU and contributor for "the Daily Beast." Howard Fineman
with us tonight, NBC News political analyst and editorial director of the
Huffington Post Media Group.

Gentlemen, great to have you with us. We want to touch on a number of
different subjects with both of you tonight. But first, let`s start with
the debt ceiling.

Howard, don`t Republicans know that this is a big potential loser not
only for the country, but for the Republicans politically? Or am I viewing
this wrong?

HOWARD FINEMAN, HUFFINGTON POST MEDIA GROUP: Excuse me, Ed. I think
some Republicans know it in their head. I think most Republicans in the
House don`t know it in their hearts. They`re here to lecture and to
disrupt and not to legislate. They don`t understand often -- the ones I
talked to don`t really get the idea that the American public views the
Congress as an utterly dysfunctional institution, that is standing in the
way of leading the country and bringing about a true recovery from this
long Great Recession.

And most of the American people don`t see political and legislative
maneuvers like the ones that the Tea Party types want to carry forth, like
Grover Norquist want to carry forth, as the kind of political disasters
that they are. If the Republicans pursue the strategy that Grover Norquist
is talking about and that John Boehner floated, they`ll just drive the
Republicans` numbers even further through the floor than what you showed
just now.

SCHULTZ: Bob Shrum, it`s the big three, Medicare, Medicaid and Social
Security. The Republicans want a piece of that. How big a piece do they
need to come to peace with the president on this?

BOB SHRUM, NYU PROFESSOR: Well, I don`t think they`re going to get a
big piece of that to get the debt limit extended. Look, Boehner right now
reminds me of a zombie speaker of the House. I mean, he is presiding over
the Mad Hatter`s tea party in "Alice in Wonderland." There are actually
Republicans -- and Howard is right -- who are sitting there saying let`s
crash the full faith and credit of the United States. After all, one of
them said, we got to do it at some point. We have to do it. Let`s go
through the pain now.

That is a political disaster for the GOP. You know, normally, if you
look at 2014, you`d say Republicans are going to gain House seats.
Republicans might take the Senate. If they go down this road, and I think
Mitch McConnell knows this, the Senate Republican leader -- and I think
Boehner knows it too. If they go down this road, they risk breaking that
precedent and really suffering in the midterm elections.

SCHULTZ: Let`s talk about gun safety. This is going to be -- it
seems to be a pretty heavy lift for the Congress here, even in the wake of
a horrific tragedy. Howard Fineman, where does this stand right now?
There is a lot of rancor going back and forth, people choosing up sides,
advocacy groups getting engaged. Can Joe Biden lead the way to get
something done on this?

FINEMAN: Well, I think now is an opportunity that hasn`t existed in
quite some time. And in fact, just getting the policy back to where it was
in the Clinton years would be an achievement. But I think the Democrats
may be pushing, the president may be pushing on more of an open door than
they realize. This may be a chance for some bravery politically here.

Bob mentioned the 2014 elections. I know that some Democratic
strategists who are looking at picking up seats in red states would say be
cautious, be careful. Let`s not antagonize the gun lobby in those
conservative states. But I think that would be to misread the public mood.
I think the president -- I have a feeling that the president, with Joe
Biden`s help and leadership, may go a little stronger on this than we were
predicting.

And I think that would further divide the Republican party. I think
it would put incredible pressure on the Republican party if they the
Democrats and the president were to do it.

SCHULTZ: Bob, is this a turning point?

SHRUM: It could be a turning point. And I think Howard is absolutely
right. You know, the president can be very reasonable on this in terms
over the assault weapons bans, these multiple round clips of ammunition,
the fact that you have these gun shows where people who are delusional or
criminals can go get guns. You can do that, and you can also put it
together with a component of education. And you can try and deal with the
mental health aspects of this.

I think if the president puts forward that kind of program, there is a
chance -- a chance that it gets through. It`s going to be very difficult
because, once again, you have that Republican House. And don`t forget one
thing about the House, the Republicans lost the popular vote by over a
million votes for the House of Representatives. They have 53 or 54 percent
of the seats because the districts are gerrymandered.

Those Republicans aren`t worried about losing in a general election to
a Democrat. They`re worried about losing in a primary. So they`re going
to resist.

But Howard`s right. You can break the Republican party on this.
There are lots of folks in places, the ones who are still there in the
northeast and suburban districts, for example, around Chicago, who are
going to feel a lot of pressure to move on this, even if they are
Republicans.

SCHULTZ: Bob Shrum, Howard Fineman, great to have you with us
tonight. Thanks a lot for joining us on THE ED SHOW.

Coming up, Florida Governor Rick Scott continues to use faulty
statistics, even after analysis telling him he is wrong. Analysts, should
I say, telling him he is wrong. Just how wrong? Well, 2,500 percent
wrong. It`s a heck of a number, isn`t it? Stay tuned. We`re right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: And we are back. Florida Governor Rick Scott is dead set on
preventing his state from participating in an expansion of benefits under
the Affordable Care Act. And he is willing to cook the books to get his
way. To justify denying almost one million uninsured low income residents
health care insurance coverage, Scott is using Republicans` favorite kind
of math, the kind of math that just does not add up.

Scott says Medicaid expansion would cost Florida just too much, at
least 26 billion dollars over the next 10 years. But a series of e-mails
obtained by Health News Florida reveal on December 20th the state`s chief
economist warned the governor`s staff his cost estimates were wrong. But
Scott keeps using them anyway. Here is the governor on Monday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. RICK SCOTT (R), FLORIDA: As you know, the Florida`s agency for
health care administration put out their estimate on what the expansion
costs just for Florida taxpayers. And it`s over 26 billion dollars.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Well, let`s break this down. The study Scott is citing
inflates the cost of expansion by 2,500 percent. Would you like to get
that return? We`re not talking about small change here, folks. The number
is so big because the agency didn`t take into account the increase in
federal funds. The federal government will pay the bulk of the cost for
new Medicaid eligibles if the state agrees to expand its program, 100
percent between the years 2014 and 2016, then down to 90 percent by 2020.

So in reality, those one million uninsured Floridians would get
coverage at a 10-year cost of about one billion dollars to the state. But
what do you expect? This is the same Rick Scott who ran a company at the
time it was involved in the largest Medicare fraud case in U.S. history.
And he walked away with a 10 million dollar severance package. Pretty good
deal, huh?

The same Rick Scott who is pushing a Medicaid privatization plan which
would benefit his own health care company.

Tonight in our survey, I asked should responsible gun owners speak up
about gun legislation? Ninety nine percent of you say yes; one percent of
you say no.

Insurance giant AIG is thinking about suing the federal government
after the taxpayers bailed them out. Remember that story? Pretty
disturbing story of corporate greed. "Bloomberg View" columnist William
Cohan is here with reaction. We`ll break it down. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: And in the Big Finish tonight, we have a truly shocking
story of corporate greed. Let`s go back to late 2008. The insurance giant
AIG was on the verge of financial collapse because of its role in the
mortgage crisis. If AIG went down, if they went bankrupt, the ripple
effect would have had devastating consequences on the economy.

So the federal government stepped in and offered AIG a 182 billion
dollar loan, bailout. They accepted the offer. Now four years later, AIG
is considering joining a lawsuit to sue the federal government because they
didn`t like the terms they agreed to? The 25 billion dollar lawsuit claims
the federal government has deprived shareholders of tens of billions of
dollars and violated the Fifth Amendment.

It says the government took too large a share in AIG and charged
excessive interest rates. Basically, they think they paid the federal
government too much money, and now they want it back.

The man who filed the lawsuit is former AIG CEO Hank Greenberg, who
resigned in 2005 during a scandal. He is still a major shareholder in AIG.
He started the lawsuit with his own group of investors and is now pursuing
AIG to join in. AIG is meeting with Greenberg tomorrow to decide if they
will join in on the suit.

It would be ridiculous for them to join in, considering that they are
doing just fine. Because since 2008, the government loan, AIG has posted a
profit of over 26 billion dollars. And on top of the money, AIG has been
touting its great relationship with the government. With this advertising
blitz, they`re actually thanking the American people for saving them.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: AIG, we said we were going to turn it around, and
we did.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The leading global insurance company based right
here in America.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have repaid every dollar America lent us.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everything, plus a profit of more than 22
billion.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For the American people.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: AIG played a major role in taking our country into the Great
Recession. The taxpayers saved AIG. The ripple effect would have been
unbelievable. But now for AIG to think about suing the federal government
is beyond disgraceful.

For more, let`s turn to my friend Bill Cohan. He is the columnist for
"Bloomberg View" and author of "Money and Power."

OK. Let`s play a word game. You match what I say, appalling.

WILLIAM COHAN, "BLOOMBERG VIEW": Outrageous. Ed, this is -- the year
is only eight days old, but this is the largest corporate PR blunder of the
year so far, without question. For AIG to take all of this money when it
was on the verge of bankruptcy, a board was in place and did it willingly,
knowing exactly what they were doing, knowing that their choice was to have
bankruptcy or take the loan, they took the loan. They paid it back. They
paid it back with 22 billion dollars of profit.

And for now to them -- to seriously consider joining this lawsuit is
absolutely, to use your word, outrageous.

SCHULTZ: Well, the federal government went in. The lawmakers went in
and said you got the take this deal, because if you go down, the ripple
effect in the economy, we may not be able to recover. I mean, that was the
conversation.

COHAN: Absolutely.

SCHULTZ: Isn`t this un-American?

COHAN: Well, it`s some corporate lawyer`s dream fantasy, along with
Hank Greenberg`s fantasy that perhaps somehow he`ll make money out of this.
But it really has no basis in law or fact.

SCHULTZ: Why is Greenberg doing this? Just a grudge?

COHAN: Well, he lost a tremendous amount of money when AIG got
diluted down by the government`s ownership, OK. He still got hundreds of
millions of dollars in his pocket. But he lost probably several billion.
And he is pissed out about it, if I may use that word. There is no basis
of this board even considering for a second joining this lawsuit.

SCHULTZ: Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts today said that
AIG continues to profit from a stealth bailout in the form of tax
loopholes. What is your reaction to that?

COHAN: I think Elizabeth Warren is absolutely right about that. I
mean, AIG has benefited from income tax repayments that it`s been able to
get from the government as a result of the bailout, avoiding future taxes.
Again, the choice for shareholders when they made this loan, when they
accepted this loan, was either bankruptcy and getting wiped out or live to
fight another day. And that`s exactly what they have done.

SCHULTZ: So Greenberg will go to this board meeting tomorrow and ask
the board members to get on board with this lawsuit. The question is who
is going to have the courage to throw him out of the room?

COHAN: If I were a board member there, Ed, I would not even allow him
to show up, let alone throw him out of the room. It`s outrageous that
they`re even considering hearing what he has to say. And they`re also
hearing from the Treasury Department. I can`t believe the Treasury
Department is going the waste its time and go into this boardroom tomorrow.

I cannot believe this board is even considering joining this lawsuit.

SCHULTZ: Is this one man`s vengeance, Greenberg?

COHAN: That`s what this is. This is Hank Greenberg trying to get
restitution for all that was done wrong to him beginning in May of 2005,
when he had to resign from the company.

SCHULTZ: And what if AIG had gone under? What if he we had not done
this?

COHAN: The one thing Hank Paulson was absolutely right about is that
the ripple effects of this would have been tremendous. People don`t
understand this particularly well, but AIG had insured the mortgage risk in
the world. When it did that, it collected billions of dollars in premiums.
It paid hundreds of millions of salaries and bonuses to the people who work
there. But the knock on effect of AIG going down would have been
disastrous.

So it was the right thing to bail them out. And it`s the right thing
for AIG to say thank you very much.

SCHULTZ: William Cohan, good to have you with us tonight. Thanks so
much.

And that is THE ED SHOW. I`m Ed Schultz. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW"
starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
BE UPDATED.
END

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